Should I Be Worried?

Question

Asked by gem

Should I Be Worried?

I monitor my BP at home and it has been as low as 109/60 and as high as 173/70. Usually it is in the 120-130/63-70 range. I am 55 yo male and exercise regularly and follow "healthy" diet (lots of veg/fruits and low meat and dairy consumption). I am concerned that I am getting hypertension (it runs in my family as does diabetes) despite my efforts to keep these things in check. My numbers don't fall within the guidelines for the bottom number of the BP. Should I see a doctor? Thanks

Answer

Hi Gem,

The Joint National Committee defines four blood pressure categories.

Very High Range - Stage 2 Hypertension
Systolic (top) blood pressure 160 mm Hg or high
Diastolic (bottom) blood pressure 100 mm Hg or higher
If in this range you have hypertension (high blood pressure).

High Range - Stage 1 Hypertension
Systolic (top) blood pressure 140 - 159 mm Hg
Diastolic (bottom) blood pressure 90 - 99 mm Hg
If in this range you have hypertension (high blood pressure).

Caution Range - Prehypertension
Systolic (top) blood pressure 120 - 139 mm Hg
Diastolic (bottom) blood pressure 80 - 89 mm Hg
Take action!

Normal Range - Normal
Systolic (top) blood pressure below 120 mm Hg
Diastolic (bottom) blood pressure below 80 mm Hg
Perfect!

If you blood pressure is typically between 120-130 over 63-70, you're not doing terrible. Your bottom number (diastolic) is within normal, while your top number (systolic) is creeping up and within the prehypertensive range. It is worth consulting your physician to discuss action steps you can take to reverse this gradual increase.

Keep up the good work eating a heart healthy diet and being physically active!

All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD
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